Barbecue to the Rescue!
It may not seem like the ideal time of year to be announcing the virtues of a barbecue, however this week I discovered that the barbecue is a grill for all seasons. Recent events have left me in no doubt whatsoever that now my barbecue is indispensable, whatever the weather.
Let me start from the beginning. As the snow fell on our remote barn conversion, our family of five were quite smug. Although in the past we’ve been snowed in without provisions for a good month or more, this time we had a fridge and freezer full of meat and vegetables, and a wood burning stove to keep us warm.
As it was the weekend, we decided to have a baking day, concocting delicious food such as treacle tarts, stews and dumplings, winter vegetable soups and mouth-watering meat pies to consume after the snowman building contest had ended.
The first problem arose when the gas barbecue began to leak gas. Unable to find a gas engineer over the weekend, we followed the Transco advice and turned everything off. Although our food was half cooked we didn’t despair as the under used microwave sat winking at us from the corner.
Plan B consisted of the soup and jacket potatoes, the pies to be finished on a weekday, we loaded the oven with spud upon spud, and decided this was for the best. Nothing tastes better thn a hot cup of soup and a baked potato to warm frozen hands, and so in good spirits we made do without the range.
Until the microwave blew up! Not one potato had cooked all the way through and now we began to despair. Salads just don’t cut the mustard on a snowy day, however it seemed like that was the only menu choice left.
In a fit of inspiration, I tried boiling eggs in the kettle, our soldiers may not have been toasted, but lunch was at least half warm, yet the overflowing water sent the kettle into meltdown and as the full fuse board blew, it really was toast for us.
With nothing to boil water, not even a kettle for a cup of tea, we toasted marshmallows on the fire, whilst dreaming of the marinated meat and half cooked soup. We didn’t want to play in the snow knowing only cold fare would await our return and so we almost gave up.
Then in a spark of inspiration, we remembered the barbecue. Not a fancy affair, our barbecue has its own designated are of the garden where picnic benches surround it along with rosemary, thyme and oregano. Built solid, and permanent, we dug out some summer coals, wrapped up warm and took the indoor food, outdoors.
In only minutes the barbecue created the warmth we needed, and with the help of some foil, we finished the soup, we grilled some chicken legs, pork chops and steak and even had enough heat to finish the treacle tart whilst warming some tinned custard.
As we parents tried desperately to boil enough water for a much needed coffee, three children played in the snow, building an army of snowman guests for our al fresco dining.
Ten hours earlier we’d have laughed if a barbecue in a foot of snow was mentioned, however by the end of the day every one of us agreed we’d just enjoyed the best winter day out ever. All from the comfort of our own backyard!